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OLD LETTERS. I know of nothing more calcu- loss of him who penned it, I dare lated to bring back the nearly-faded scarcely look upon. It calls back too dreams of youth-the almost oblic forcibly to my remembrance its noterated scenes and passions of our ble-minded author--the treasured boyhood-and to recall the brightest friend of my earliest and happiest and best associations of those days— days, the sharer of my puerile When the young blood ran riot in the but innocent joys. I think of him veins,
as he tuen was the free-the spiAnd boyhood made us sanguine- rited-the gay-the welcome guest nothing that more easily conjures
up had its weight, or frankness and ho
in every circle where kind feeling the alternate joys and sorrows of maturer years—the fluctuating visions nesty had influence; and, in an inthat have floated before the restless stant, comes the thought of what he
now is; and pale and ghastly images imagination in times gone by, and the breathing forms and inanimate of death are hovering round me. I objects that wound themselves around
see him, whom I loved, and prized, our hearts, and became almost ne
and honoured, shrunk into poor and
wasting ashes. I mark a stranger cessary to our existence, than the rusal of old letters. They are the closing his powerless lids-a stranger memorials of attachment--the re
following him to the grave- and I cords of affection—the speaking trum- last letter. It was written but a short
cannot trust myself again to open his pets through which those whom we esteem hail us from afar. They yellow fever in the West Indies, and
time before he fell a victim to the seem hallowed by the brother's grasp told me, in the affecting language of the sister's kiss, the father's blessing, and the mother's love. When we
Moore, that look on them, the friends whom Far beyond the western sea dreary seas and distant leagues divide
Was one whose heart remember'd me. from us are again in our presence. On hearing of his death, I wrote We see their cordial looks, and hear some stanzas which I have preservtheir gladdening voices once more. ed-not out of any pride in the The paper has a tongue in
cha- verses themselves, but as a token of racter it contains—a language in its esteem for him to whom they were very silentness. They speak to the addressed, and as a true transcript of souls of men like a voice from the my feelings at the time they were grave, and are the links of that chain composed. I make no apology for which connects with the hearts and inserting them here. Those who have sympathies of the living an ever- never loved, nor lost a friend, will be green remembrance of the dead. I backward in perusing them--those have one at this moment before me, who have, will recur to their own which, ałthough time has in a degree feelings and not withhold their symsoftened the regret that I felt at the pathy.
The bitter thoughts that pass not o'er;
Can never reach thee more.
Alone towards thy grave could bend;
Has not been destined for thy friend :
When reason fled her ruin'd shrine,
And mingle his faint sighs with thine :
By others to thy parent earth,
In silence o'er departed worth:
That bound me in this world's frail chain ;
Like one whose heart is cleft in twain ;
In which all joys were wont to blend,
Have wither'd with my friend.
Of all their fondness—all their praise-
In crowded halls and lonely ways;
And in their hearts will be the strife
Uncancell'd from the book of life.
Where sorrow's incense ever burns. But there are other letters whose politeness of the world to the “ Dear perusal makes us feel as if receding Tom,” or “ Dear Dick," at the head from the winter of the present to the of such letters. There is something spring-time of the past. These are touching about it ;-something that from friends whom we have long awakens a friendly warmth in the known, and whose society we still heart. It is shaking the hand by enjoy. There is a charm in contraste proxy-a vicarious a good morrow." ing the sentiments of their youth with I have a whole packet of such letters those of a riper age: or rather, in from my friend G- and there tracing the course of their ideas and is scarcely a dash or a comma in following them up to their full deve them that is not characteristic of the lopement; for it is seldom that the Every word bears the imfeelings we entertain in the early part press of freedom-the true currente of our lives entirely change-they calamo stamp. He is the most conmerely expand, as the grown tree vivial of letter-writers--the heartiest proceeds from the shoot, or the of epistlers. Then there is Nflower from the bud. We love to who always seems to bear in mind turn from the formalities and cold that it is o better to be brief than tedious," for it must indeed be an the cot of humble industry, with its : important subject that would elicit woodbined front, and cheerful hearth, from him more than three lines, nor and smiling faces, which my busy has his rib a whit more of the ca- imagination had pictured, but a soli. coëthes scribendi about her. *
tary mound of earth, strewed with a But there are letters differing in few sweet flowers. At one end, was character from all that I have yet the fragment of a simple cross, and mentioned fragments saved from the at the other a wild rose-tree, bearing wreck of early love-reliques of spi- neither flower, nor blossom, nor bud, rit-buoying hopes remembrancers of nor leaf. It was, as I afterwards joy. They perchance remind us heard, the grave of a young soldier, that that love has set in tears—that who had borne bravely and honourathose hopes were cruelly blighted— bly the dangers and the toils of many that our joy is fled for ever. When battles but the faithlessness of the we look on them we seem to feel maiden he loved subdued the spirit that
which never bowed before. He died No time
broken-hearted, and left none to weep Can ransom us from sorrow.
for him, save an aged mother, whose We fancy ourselves the adopted of tered flowers that I saw on his grave.
palsied hands had gathered the scato misery-Care's lone inheritors. The They were the first—the last she bloom has gone off from our lives.
ever placed there, for she died whilst For my own part, I have but one written token of her whom I loved in strewing them. The rose-tree was my youth. It is one of consolation, place to have been secretly planted
supposed by the peasantry of the and yet of sorrow, for I received it by the maiden who deserted him, as on the evening after we had parted iť never bloomed, although many for ever. If the reader will listen to flowers near it were in all the pride the “ story of my love," he will not of freshness and beauty. How feel surprised that the sight of this could the roses bloom upon his letter should even now fill me with emotions which I cannot and would who had blighted the rose of hope
grave, when planted by her hand not control.
in his heart-that heart which proved It was on a beautiful July evening how well it loved by dying when she that I wandered from the small,
On a sudden the moon,, but romantic village of R- in the that fair and noiseless spirit who south of France. I turned from the haunts the sky at night, rose in her high road, and struck into a retired beauty. The winds gave a last sigh and sheltered path. As I strolled on
to the flowers, and died upon them. wards, the last faint streak of twi. The birds had gone to their rests— light disappeared, and the shadows the grasshopperfrom the trees threw an air of gloom over the face of the scene, which Chirped one good-night carol more, gave it double interest in my eyes. and all was silent-silent as the grave After roaming for some time, I at near which I stood. I seated myself length reached the extremity of the beside the broken cross, and gazed path, and beheld—not a bower, nor with mingled sensations on the scene temple, with a shrine of flowers, to around me and the moon which silwhich the winds pay homagenot vered it, when the voice of the night
* I have more than once suspected them to be the hero and heroine of an anecdote, which I remember somewhere to have read, of a gentleman who by mere chance strolled into a coffee-house, where he met with a captain of his acquaintance, on the point of sailing to New York, and from whom he received an invitation to accompany him. This he accepted-taking care however to inform his wife of it, which he did in these terms :
ingale and another still sweeter, honourable, but severe and moneyroused me from my reverie. Hen- getting man; and this at times caused riette stood before me, without my him to be harsh to the sensitive child, having heard
whose disposition so widely differed the music of her footsteps on my spirits.
from his own. For even in my tenderHenriette had the kindest heart and pondence, especially when I saw other
est years I was subject to fits of desthe finest eyes of any girl I ever children of my own age passing their knew. Her voice stole o'er the mind summer-days (for with them the like a spirit of Hope. The most sim- whole year seemed summer !) beple word became music when she ut- neath the smiles and happy eyes of tered it ;
their parents. He might have wean'Twas whisper'd balm-'twas sunshine ed me from my wayward melancholy, spoken;
but chose the wrong means.
A kind and a smile ever lingered around her word from his lips was all that was lip, as if enamoured of its ruby required; but that he never gave. haunt. She was, indeed, a joyous- It happened that M. de Phearted creature, and seldom sighed French gentleman, from whom he -or if she did, it was for my sorrows
had some years before received many --and not her own. We wandered friendly services, during a short stay homeward; I scarcely felt her arm in France, arrived with his only within my own, except at times when daughter in London, and took up his the shadow from some lofty tree or residence at the house of Mr.C— I passing cloud alarmed her, and then
was then nearly eleven years of age. she drew nearer to my side. Once, M. de P-conceived an interest indeed, her lips came so close to mine for me, and offered to take me to that I could not choose but press France. My guardian was not sorry them. A kiss was not thought so
to be quit of me, and instantly acgreat an offence in France as in Eng- cepted the offer; yet at parting (alland—thus she was not very angry: though he had before never shown but I remarked that she did not any affection towards me) I think he chrink from the shadows as before.
was moved, for he stretched out his We reached her father's residence, hand to me, and my tears fell upon which was situated at the extremity it, as I kissed it. He seemed conof the village of R-, and I could fused-perhaps I might say, abashed. not help noticing that Henriette ap- He was, doubtless, surprised why peared paler than usual, and that I could grieve at leaving him; but her hand trembled as she took the at that moment all his stern treatglass of Burgundy, which I present- ment and unkindness were obliterated ed to her. We had hitherto lived as
from my mind, and I remembered brother and sister, guilelessly and hap- only the good that he had done me. pily together; but the kiss of that In such feelings the child is richer night had betrayed the state of
than the man. The knowledge of heart. She grew not less kind, but the world which we obtain in maless familiar towards me: and I can
turer years but too frequently stifles, not say that it grieved me, for in my if it does not entirely subdue, them; situation it was a sin to love her. I and in proportion as it calls to life was a poor boy, and had neither fa- the dormant energies of the unders ther nor mother, nor a single relative standing, deadens the kindlier sentito whom I could confide my puny ments and purer virtues of the heart. cares. I had been left almost alone We arrived in France. Henriette, in the world, and the world seemed the daughter of M. de P-was unkind to me: but, no! no! there about two years my elder, and beauwere some few hearts that loved me
tiful the better for my misfortunes; and As a young rose-bud opening slowly, strove to soothe my wounded spirit
Kiss'd by the breath of May. with sweet words, and smiles, and She was of the liveliest disposition hopes of happier days. I inherited in the world; and, by degrees, her a small but sufficient patrimony from sweet smile taught me cheerfulness. my father, who appointed Mr.C—, We played together--we learnt toa merchant, then residing in London, gether we wept together. Our my guardian. He was a strictly sports, and studies, and tears were
in communion. As I advanced in conceal them: then, assuming a more years I felt how dangerous her pre- composed air, she continued: “I sence became, yet had not the power know and admire your feelings, and to fly from it. M. de P
were I allowed to follow my own, I
Count de B- came on And heard not-spake not--thought not of a visit. He saw and loved Henriette.
my woes. If any living being deserved her it was the Count de B, for he had wheels aroused me from my stupor.
On a sudden the sound of carriage not only inherited the title of nobi- I was too weak to walk, but con lity, but also every qualification of trived to crawl on my hands and the head and heart that is calcu- knees to the window, which overJated to adorn it; yet I thought- looked the street, and supported my, but this perhaps was vanity--that self by clinging to the cornice work she received his addresses more for at the side. Henriette advanced to her father's sake than her own.
the carriage—one foot was already
on the step-she turned, and, as if On the morning that she was to window of my apartment, but, on
involuntarily, looked towards the leave the chateau to
her father and the Count to Paris, I was the coach-and our eyes never met
seeing me, hurried tremblingly into confined to my room by indisposition. A gentle tap at the door told again. M. de P-- and the Count
de B followed-the door was me that Henriette was come to bid closed the postilion drove off-and me adieu—and for ever. I trembled, Henriette was lost to me for ever. I and the pulses of my heart seemed followed the carriage with my eyes, to pause. She entered. The pale- until it became a speck on the horiness of my cheeks appeared to startlezon, and at length totally disap" am
peared. Charles," she uttered feebly—and took my hand. Her voice, which that moment of trial had called into
The few remaining energies which once so enlivened me, now almost play, now forsook me, and I sank broke my heart. I sank back in my down in a state of utter helplessness chair, and covered my eyes with my and exhaustion, both of body and hand. “ Charles (she added), I am
Ea sola voluptas solamenque mali, recollecting herself, turned away to was dead to me, and I was again in